You got backed into a corner because you had no way to staggering the enemy back. I’ve had the same thing happen to me and it’s usually one of two scenarios
1: I was being attacked by multiple enemies, in which case that’s what I get for taking on multiple enemies at a time. In a 1vX scenario, the 1 should be at a major disadvantage and have to play defensively
2: There are some mobs that still have a lot of quick staggering attacks and the only way to counter is with a staggering or CC attack of your own which require cooldowns.
In either case, If I was able to block → light attack to buy myself a moment of breathing room (even if just from one opponent), it would help a lot. But that’s not an option. As a spear user, my only options are “Perforate and hope all three attacks land to stagger” or Vault Kick stun”, neither of which is fast enough to help.
I do like one of the suggestions of bringing back Stagger but having it only on Heavy attacks
Might as well leave stagger out. Having only heavy attacks stagger is pointless with regards to the point of staggering because they’re too slow. The entire point of stagger was to make getting a successful hit in feel meaningful. This was more difficult then than now because you had to time your attacks or risk being staggered yourself.
But there’s no way to dodge/block an attack and respond with a heavy attack. It’s just too slow. Heavy attacks are for shield breaking, their stagger is more in case you get lucky with an attack or your enemy drops their guard too soon.
Or go 300 STR, which grants Light and Heavy melee attacks GRIT.
It’s too bad GRIT is near useless in PvP given how few PC attacks stagger.
In the end, no one is saying the old system is perfect. But it’s a far cry better than it is now. Some tweaks (especially to weapons) and some additions of things like feinting would go a long way to making combat engaging with a high skill ceiling.